Ennio Morricone has had a revolutionary impact on the way films, especially westerns, are scored.
He has worked with many of the greatest directors of all time, including Sergio Leone, Roman
Polanski and Brian De Palma. And at the age of 72, he still keeps on going.
Morricone was born in Rome on 10 November 1928. He studied at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory
in the trumpet class of Umberto Semproni. (Ennio's father was a trumpet player). In 1941
he was chosen among the students of the Conservatory to be a part of the Orchestra of the
Opera directed by Carlo Zecchi on the occasion of a tour of Veneto (the region of Venice).
Ennio's gifts were quickly noted, and he was taken to a course of elementary composition.
He played the second trumpet beside his father in the musical ensemble conducted by Alberto
Flamini which played for the American and Canadian troops in Rome.
In 1946, Morricone received his trumpet diploma and in the same year he composed "Il Mattino"
("The Morning"). He attended the course of Choral Music and Choral Direction at
the Conservatory, but abandoned before obtaining his diploma. In 1955 he started to write or
arrange music for films credited to other already well-known composers (ghost-writing).
He occasionally adopted westernised pseudonyms such as Dan Savio and Leo Nichols.
He then left for military service, where he had the opportunity to transcribe for band many
compositions by various authors. On 13 October 1956, he married Maria Travia and had his
first son, Marco, in 1957.
Sergio Leone, Morricones classmate and a fledgling director, asked him to score his movie
A Fistful of Dollars in 1964. This was the first movie Morricone received international acclaim,
although while using the name "Savio". The theme was a complete departure from the traditional
style of Hollywood western themes. Incorporating shouts, eerie cries and whistling, blended with
the sound of unusual folk instruments, it became hugely popular in almost overnight. His
fruitful collaboration with Sergio Leone continued in the films For A Few Dollars More and
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. In 1968 he decided to reduce arranging in favor of
film music, and signed 20 film scores in one year. The rest is history.
In 1966 Morricone had his fourth child, Giovanni. (Alessandra was born 1961 and Andrea in 1964).
Morricone teached composition in the new municipal school of music "Linicio Refice" of
Frosinone, but abandoned the position in 1972. His father Mario died in 1974. In 1983 he was elected to the board of administration
of Nuova Consonanza (until 1985). In 1984, along with Paola Bernardi, Egisto Macchi and Carlo
Marinelli, he founded the "IRTEM" (Istituto di Ricerca per il Teatro Musicale) (Institute of
Research for the Musical Theatre). In 1989 he is made honorary citizen of Arpino,
country of origin of his paternal grand-parents. In 1991 at the request of Luciano Alberti,
the Accademia Chigiana re-established its summer courses in film music, which they entrusted
with Ennio Morricone and Sergio Miceli. The English musicologist Philip Tagg proposed Morricone
as the recipient of the doctorate "honoris causa" at the University of Göteborg. In 1992 The French
Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, gave him the title of "Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres".
He also receives a "Saint Vincent la Grolla d'Oro" for career achievement. In 1994 he was the
first non-American composer to receive the career achievement award of the SPFM - Society for
Preservation of Film Music. He also received the award "Golden Soundtrack" given by ASCAP
(American Society of Composers, Authors & Publisher). His mother died the same year at the age
of 88. In 1995 Morricone received the Leone d'Oro award for his career achievement at the 52nd Biennale del Cinema in Venice.
After having four children,numerous awards and a filmography of over 350 films, he still hasn't
retired. This year he has made the music for the film "Gli Intoccable", so far.
Morricone's filmography is HUGE (over 350 films), so I'm going to point out only his most
AW=Awards won by Morricone
N=Nominations for Morricone
1961 - Il Federale (his first soundtrack)
1964 - A Fistful of Dollars (D:Sergio Leone AW:Nastro d'Argento)
1965 - For A Few Dollars More (D:Leone)
1966 - The Battle of Algiers (D:Gillo Pontecorvo)
1967 - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (D:Leone)
1969 - Once Upon A Time In The West (D:Leone)
1970 - Metti, una Sera a Cena (AW:Nastro d'Argento)
1970 - Sacco And Vanzetti (D:Guiliano Montaldo AW:Nastro d'Argento Vocals:Joan Baez)
1971 - A Fistful of Dynamite (D:Leone)
1973 - My Name is Nobody (D:Tonino Valeri)
1978 - Days of Heaven (N:Oscar)
1980 - Il Prato (AW:Critica Discographia from critics of the record industry)
1984 - Once Upon A Time In America (D:Leone AW:Nastro d'Argento, BAFTA N:Golden Globe)
1986 - The Mission (D:Roland Joffe AW:BAFTA, Golden Globe N:Oscar)
1988 - Frantic (D:Roman Polanski)
1989 - Casualties of War (N:Golden Globe)
1987 - The Untouchables (D:Brian De Palma AW:Nastro d'Argento, BAFTA, the Grammy Award N:Oscar)
1990 - Cinema Paradiso (D:Giuseppe Tornatore AW:BAFTA, Prix Fondation Sacem from Cannes film festival and David di Donatello)
1991 - Bugsy (D:Barry Levinson N:Oscar, Golden Globe)
1993 - Jonas che Visse nella Balena (AW:David Di Donatello award, Efebo d'Argento)
1994 - Wolf (D:Mike Nichols)
1997 - U-Turn (D:Oliver Stone)
1997 - Lolita (D:Adrian Lyne)
1999 - The Legend of 1900 (D:Tornatore AW:Golden Globe)
2000 - Mission to Mars (D:De Palma)